How to Make Cheap Meat Taste Like an Expensive Cut

Few things are as delectable as a nice, juicy steak that cuts like butter and is absolutely bursting with flavor. But cuts of meat like that don’t come cheap. You can easily pay hand over fist for a really succulent steak, which basically leaves you with two options: cough up the money for the high-quality meat or settle for a cheap cut that’s probably tasteless and chewy.

Neither sound like an excellent choice, right?

Well, Cooktop Cove has a compromise that will satisfy both your stomach and your wallet! You can save a few bucks by opting for the cheaper cut of meat in the grocery store, but then turn that steak into a gourmet masterpiece once you’re home.

All you need are a few easy, clever techniques that will take any meat from cheap to high-end in no time.

1. Cook it Low and Slow

close-up of KitchenAid 6-Quart Slow CookerAmerica's Test Kitchen
All meat has the potential to be as mouthwatering as a prime filet mignon, but some inexpensive cuts just need a little extra TLC to extract that tenderness.
To avoid tough meat, throw your cut in the slow cooker to break down all those chewy fibers. Cooking the beef in a slow cooker is going to trap all the moisture of the meat and other ingredients inside, leaving you with a cut of steak that will melt in your mouth.

2. Acidic Marinades

lemon halves on white backgroundtookapic via Pixabay
When you hear the word “acidic,” your brain probably can’t help but imagine harsh chemical. Please, we’re not suggesting you add bleach to your steak — no chemical products were required for the making of this steak!

Natural acidic flavors like lime or lemon juice, yogurt or buttermilk, and vinegar can be used to tenderize tough cuts. The best part is that these acids work fast, so you only need to marinate your meat for about a half hour.

Pro Tip: If the edges of the meat look like they’re starting to cook, it’s been marinating too long.

3. Salt Rub


A thick coating of salt, also known as a salt rub, on a cheap cut of meat is great for making the steak tender and flavorful. YouTube show Cooking with Jack decided to put that hack to the test by buying the least expensive cut he could find at his local grocery store and making his own salt rub.

Jack simply coats the entire top with coarse salt and lets it sit out on the counter for one hour per inch the meat is thick. So if it is one inch thick, it sits out for an hour.
After you wash the salt off, pat it dry and cook it like you normally would. Throw on your favorite seasoning, but maybe leave out the salt this time. Make sure to watch the video above to see how this money-saving hack turns out.